Facebook removes hundreds of QAnon groups, citing public safety risks

Facebook Inc (FB.O) Facebook announced on Wednesday to have removed nearly 800 QAnon conspiracy groups for posting contents celebrating violence, showing intent to use weapons, or attracting followers with patterns of violent behavior.

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The worldโ€™s biggest social network created restrictions also to other 1,950 public and private QAnon groups, in the effort to expand its policy on perceived risks to public safety, no longer suggesting them to users and making them less reachable in searches.

Facebook refused to give specific figures but hundreds of thousands of Facebook users are subscribed to one or more QAnon groups.

Facebook also reported that: “for militia organizations and those encouraging riots, including some who may identify as Antifa, weโ€™ve initially removed over 980 groups, 520 Pages and 160 ads from Facebook. Weโ€™ve also restricted over 1,400 hashtags related to these groups and organizations on Instagram”.

QAnon has also been identified as a potential source of domestic violence by the FBI, as among its followers some have been charged with murder and kidnapping.

It is already happened that Facebook banned some organizations considered to be inherently dangerous, and some critics urged the same measure for QAnon.

Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst with a new book on misinformation, said to Reuters: “taking down groups and pages, restricting others, and banning hashtags is a step, but an insufficient one”.

It is verly likely that QAnon followers would start new groups with new code words, a Facebook spokeswoman underlined to Reuters, so that restraining them would be an ongoing battle.


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